Authors: Kaci Hart
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Forever Love, #Christian, #Religious, #Faith, #Inspirational, #Spirituality, #Love Inspired, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Hearts Desire, #Clean & Wholesome, #Stanton Falls, #Series, #Marketing Executive, #Bed & Breakfast, #Struggling B&B Owner, #Unemployed
Summer in Stanton
© 2016 by Kaci Hart.
rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used
in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or
publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
is a work of fiction. Names and character are either the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
“We’re running out of
time on this guys. I mean we are literally hours away from losing one of
our biggest clients and if that happens, it’s on us. All of us. So
let’s pull this together and get it done. Nick, Rachel, I need something
big like yesterday. Robbie and Jo, you run point on the sponsorship angle
and for goodness sakes, call me back soon with something good.”
Tessa pressed the hang
up button on her speakerphone--abruptly ending the conference call that she was
on with her direct team members.
This is not good.
Definitely not good.
She moved her hair from
her face. She was so frustrated that she was about ready to pull it
out. In fact, she was so desperate that she would have seriously
considered doing just that if she thought it would help make a good enough
Product Placement Proposal to keep the client happy. She figured
that she at least had a little more time to right the ship before she had to
present it to her boss. When her phone rang no more than ten seconds
after she finished her conference call, she was surprised. She had
specifically asked her secretary to make sure she not be disturbed this
morning. She pressed the button on her phone.
“Beth, I thought I said
The girl sounded
“Right. I-I wouldn’t
bother you Ms. McGuire but it is important. I just took a call from
Mr. Atwell’s secretary. He wants to see you in his office as soon as
Tessa looked at the
watch on her hand. It was eleven a.m.
“Okay. Let them
know that I’ll be there before noon.”
“I’m sorry ma’am.
I probably should have said exactly what she told me.”
Now this woman is just
frustrating. Why doesn’t she ever just spit out what she has to say instead
of making me pull it out of her.
On more than one
occasion, Tessa had seriously considered replacing the woman. This only
made her mind up for her. Here she was working the biggest client the
company had and her secretary apparently thought she could read minds.
Still, she didn’t want to fire her. No one deserved that. She
gave herself a mental note to have her moved to a role that would probably be
better for her and get herself a new secretary. In the meantime, she sighed
in frustration before responding.
“Which was what
“Oh, sorry. Mr.
Atwell wanted you to come immediately but I told her you were on a conference
call. She said you were to head over once you were finished.”
“Okay then. Tell
them I’m on my way up now.”
The phone clicked off
and Tessa grabbed some of her documents. She didn’t want to keep them
waiting any more than she already had but she had to show them that there were
going to be positive results.
She walked down the long
hallway, her heels clicking as she made her way across the shiny, tiled floor.
She looked around as she walked.
You’d think someone died
by the looks I’m getting.
People who normally
talked to her at length every time they saw her were averting their eyes.
All around people were pretending to be working when she knew they
were watching her. No. This was really weird. It was quiet.
That was the last thing that an ad agency in the heart of New York City
I haven’t seen it like
this in here since the day . . . oh no.
The door to Mr. Atwell’s
office opened slowly and a very displeased looking man walked out. It was
David Drabst, the CEO of the company she worked for. Her boss was the
head of her division but he reported directly to Mr. Drabst. Unfortunately,
Mr. Drabst was never seen on this floor unless there was really bad news.
He walked right past her without looking at her or saying a word.
That was when she realized why everyone was looking at her like that.
They all thought they were looking at a woman who was on her way out.
Boy did they have the
wrong woman. She was not going out without a fight. That was the
thing about her job. She had to scratch and crawl to make it to the top.
It took hard work, sacrifice and time but it was worth it. Being a
top marketing executive for a major advertising firm in a city like New York
had its perks. She was paid a handsome sum of money and commanded respect
from anyone in the industry. The job was basically a doorway to all the
things she could want in life.
Of course, that was when
things went like they were supposed to.
When it didn’t work out
right, there had to be someone to blame. Naturally they had to be high enough
up the chain that they could show that when the company did take action, they
were taking the right person accountable. At the same time, they couldn’t
really fire someone who was so important that the firing made the company look
like they were in disarray.
Tessa knew how things
ran in the city all too well. She knew the risks of taking the position
before she took the promotion two years ago. Like her predecessor, she
was well aware before she signed on the dotted line that she was going to be
the person in everyone’s crosshairs whenever something went wrong. It was
a given. For her part, she was always determined to never make that
She did that well for
two years but she was in trouble now and she knew it. That didn’t
discourage her. All she had to do was make Mr. Atwell see things from her
perspective. She walked up to his secretary’s desk and smiled and
listened to her while she notified him of her arrival.
“You can go in now.”
Tessa walked over to the
door of his corner office and turned the handle.
“Mr. Atwell. You
wanted to see me sir.”
He looked up from his
paperwork with tired eyes. She almost felt bad for him after having to
deal with Mr Drabst.
“Yes. Come on in.”
“Yes sir.” She
took the offensive. “Now I realize this is probably about the Yamaguchi
Company Toy Proposal and I can assure you that they will completely love what
we have planned. If you’ll take a look at--”
He interrupted her.
“There’s no need for
“I’m sorry sir?”
“Sit Tessa. Please
She saw the serious look
on his face and her countenance dropped. She was no fool.
Definitely not good.
The tall ladder leaned
against the side of the great house as Connor worked on some repairs. He looked
down from the top of the ladder when he heard a car door slam. There was
an older couple walking towards the building. He was glad to see that
they finally would have some business.
The couple had been
inside for about a minute before it hit Connor. Libby was at lunch.
That meant that there was no one downstairs watching the front desk.
That’s what he was supposed to be doing but he got caught up in some
handyman work since it was so slow. He climbed down as quickly as he
could, being careful not to fall. As exciting as it was to have a guest
at the Cammelia, him getting hurt rushing to check them in was
When he reached the
bottom rung of the ladder, he hopped off and ran to the large wooden door.
The old door creaked in protest as he tugged to pull it open. He
took a mental note to oil the rusted hinges pretty good later, but first things
first. He heard them before he even saw them. They were at the
front desk making enough noise to wake up the other guests.
If there were any.
Connor tried not to roll
his eyes, but the way the woman was repeatedly dinging the service bell would
make a person think they had been waiting forever for service. The truth
was that it couldn’t have been more than a minute or two. He had to hold
his tongue. There was a part of him that truly wanted to tell her that
she could take her annoying attitude and leave his bed and breakfast.
Instead he shook his head as he watched her.
“Hello? Oh never
mind. This is a stupid waste of time. Let’s go.”
For his part the old
man, most likely her husband, was trying his best to keep her in check.
Chances are he was used to this kind of behavior.
“Calm down Dorothy.”
“Don’t you tell me to
calm down Jack. I told you we should have gone to that big place we saw
on the way here but you wanted quaint and cozy. You need to listen to me
sometimes. As you can see, that equals poor service. Now
Connor saw the resigned look
on the man’s face as he grabbed his bag and turned towards the exit.
Connor sighed before putting on his most welcoming face. As
unpleasant as it may be, he needed to keep them there rather than letting them
take the twenty-mile drive that he hated.
“Hi there. Sorry
for the wait. Can I help you?”
“Not now. Two
minutes ago you could have but I don’t have time for this backwater town.
Connor didn’t try to
stop them. He was pretty sure of where they were going and it was probably
more their speed than The Cammelia. She wanted to go to one of the
cookie cutter, frequent stayer, chain hotels in the town next door. He
didn’t have anything against the big chains. They had their place with the
corporate types or people that were making a stop on their drive to one of the
Those were never his
customers. He catered to the people who wanted to get
from all that. The problem was that it seemed like less people were
looking for what his place had to offer. Recently it had gotten pretty
bad and the traffic to the bed and breakfast had become practically
nonexistent. He had to stop it or The Cammelia would go out of business
permanently and he couldn’t let that happen.
It had been in his
family for generations. The inn, as well as his family, had been a
mainstay of the very close town since his grandfather bought the old great
house. It was named after his wife whom he constantly called the single
love of his life. Despite all of its rich history in the area, the bed
and breakfast had fallen on hard times. In a community so loyal,
most local businesses did well because everyone bought from one another.
That was a major problem for Connor.
Call it whatever, but a
bed and breakfast is nothing more than a hotel and in Stanton Falls that meant
a great majority of their business had been historically based on travelers
looking for a small town getaway. For the past year and a half, tourism
in the area slowed down and the inn was going through a serious drought.
Of course, Connor did
have options. He could have sold the place to Mr. Anderlien the hotel
renovator and developer. The problem was that he didn’t like the man at
all. Anderlien wanted to modernize the place but Connor wasn’t stupid. He
knew that was code for tearing down the building and replacing it with all the
cutting edge technology and design. Basically, guys like him would rip
the heart out of the bed and breakfast and make it no different than the big
chains. While it may make more money, it wasn’t what Connor wanted.
There was no way he was going to sell. His pride simply wouldn’t
That’s why Connor had
taken on every task he could to make things work. Still, he was having a
hard time with it. If the fact that he was behind on most of the bills
wasn’t enough, he hadn’t been making enough money to pay for the upkeep of the
place so it felt like it was falling apart bit by bit. If he just had the
money, he could fix the worn down parts of the building but that still
wouldn’t change the sad truth that the customers simply were not coming.
As much as Connor didn’t
want to give up on his family’s legacy, he knew the hard truth was that with
the strain he was under financially, he needed things to change fast or he’d
have to consider whether it made sense to keep it going.